Physiotherapy appointment service - Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (2023)

COVID-19 – Service updates

First appointments

Musculoskeletal (MSK) services offer either face to face or telephone appointments for all patients.

Any patient requiring an Outpatient Physiotherapy appointment should ring the Single Point of Access telephone number for an appointment on 0300 456 9987, Monday to Friday, between 8.30am – 12 noon (excluding Bank Holidays).

Alternatively, you can request an Outpatient Physiotherapy appointment online by visiting

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Please note: Physiotherapists in local physiotherapy departments CANNOT request images such as X-Ray, USS and MRI’s, this is done at a more specialist level. However, GP’s are able to request these where appropriate (excluding MRI Spine).

Specialist Pelvic Health Physiotherapists are offering face to face consultations for women with urinary incontinence (difficulty controlling the bladder), vaginal prolapses, pelvic pain, sexual problems if associated with pelvic floor dysfunction and overactive bladder symptom (such as urgency or frequency). They also have specific clinics for pregnancy related pain during the antenatal period. Telephone appointments can be arranged at the patients request if necessary by calling 0300 004 0335.

What can you do?

  • Please allow enough time for the appointment – up to 45 minutes and ensure for telephone or video appointments that you are in a place you are happy to discuss your condition/perform some movements/tests if asked.
  • For face to face appointments please DO NOT come to the department if you have any COVID symptoms, only enter the department up to 5 minutes before your appointment time, wear a face mask and attend alone where possible to help us to ensure social distancing.
  • You can also have a look at the below information before the appointment, as this may help you start managing your problem straight away.

Things to try before your physiotherapy appointment.

  • Visit My Health Devon
  • See our physiotherapy related information leaflets
  • Physiotherapy self management information leaflet

If you have suddenly developed or noticed a rapid change in 2 more of the following symptoms within the past week attend A&E immediately.

  • Loss of feeling or pins and needles between your inner thighs or genitals
  • Numbness in or around your back passage or buttocks
  • Altered feeling when using toilet paper to wipe yourself
  • Increasing difficulty when you try to urinate
  • Increasing difficulty when you try to stop or control your flow of urine
  • Loss of sensation when you pass urine
  • Unaware of leaking urine or recent need to use pads
  • Not knowing when your bladder is either full or empty
  • Inability to stop bowel movement or being unaware of leaking
  • Loss of sensation when you pass a bowel motion
  • Change in ability to achieve an erection or ejaculate
  • Loss of sensation in genitals during sexual intercourse

What you can expect from your phone consultation

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  • Physiotherapy – First Appointments information leaflet

Do I need to see the Physiotherapy service?

Physiotherapy helps you to regain strength and function after a mild sprain or strain to a joint, but not everyone needs to see a physiotherapist. This video will explain what you can do to care for your injury and when you need to seek further advice.


The Torbay and South Devon Physiotherapy Service is for patients registered at a GP practice in Brixham, Paignton, Torquay, Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Chillington, Dartmouth, Dawlish, Ipplepen, Kingskerswell, Newton Abbot, Teignmouth, Totnes or surrounding areas. We offer musculoskeletal (MSK) appointments in local hospitals across the area.

You can refer yourself for an musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy appointment and do not need to see your GP first. Currently 50% of our patients do not see their GP before contacting us. To book an appointment, please contact us using the details below. Appointment times vary for all clinics and a suitable date, time and location will be arranged with you.

Patients can use our easy, online appointment request service, or call us 8.30am – 12 noon, Monday to Friday on 0300 456 9987 (local rate). However, please note: At peak times you may be unable to get through to the booking service by telephone on the first attempt. Please continue to try and a booking clerk will become available. Also see: Things to try before your Physiotherapy appointment.

If you have any of the following, neurological problems, such as: Parkinson’s Disease, Stroke or Multiple Sclerosis, or children’s developmental problems such as Cerebral Palsy, you will need a specialist team referral, following discussion with your GP.

Patients Know Best self referral appointment service

Physiotherapy have introduced a method of communicating electronically with their patients. Any patient registered with a GP in the South Devon area is now invited to create a Patients Know Best account to communicate directly with the Physiotherapy team at Torbay Hospital whilst enabling the patient to access information and store their medical records.

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Patients Know Best (PKB) is a system that allows you and the people supporting your care to share information about your care. It also means you can communicate securely with those involved in your care. You can access it on your computer, smartphone, tablet or any device that has an internet connection.

Please create your account and request your physiotherapy appointment.

Already registered? Login into your Patients Know Best account

For help and information about Patients Know Best, including how to register and send messages to your clinician, email

How can I register and arrange my appointments?

This step by step guide is for patients who wish to register for a new or existing Patients Know Best record with the Torbay and South Devon Physiotherapy Service.

  • Please ‘Register with NHS login’ from the team registration page.
  • You will be directed to the NHS login sign in page.
  • Enter your email and click continue (if your email does not match an existing NHS login – you will be automatically directed through the process of creating one).
  • Enter your NHS login password and you will be sent a One Time Password (OTP) to your mobile phone.
  • Enter the OTP and click continue.
  • You will now need to agree to share your NHS login information with PKB.
  • You will be shown a registration form to complete. The form requires you to set up a password and security question for your PKB account, enter your address, and to accept both the User Agreement and Privacy Policy for PKB.
  • Complete the form and click next and you will be signed into PKB with your NHS login and linked to the specified team so you can access their resources.

Physiotherapy appointment service - Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust (1)

What happens next?

Once you have requested a referral, and completed a short questionnaire, the Physiotherapy team will endeavour to respond within one working day with an appointment date and time. You will receive an email notification each time you receive a message in Patients Know Best, and you can log in to view the details of that message. Please note, appointments are generally scheduled within the next 72 hours to ensure you are seen as soon as possible.

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Frequently asked questions

  1. Is it medically secure? Yes. Patients Know Best is covered by the Data Protection Act and operates within strict NHS security standards.

  2. Who owns the information? The system operates for your benefit and is a patient-owned medical records and communication system, which enables you to allow others to discuss your health and treatment.

  3. Why can’t I use email to communicate with my healthcare team? The system needs to ensure confidentiality, and because email cannot itself guarantee only the intended recipient reads the message, a safe way of electronically communicating has been offered: PKB. All information about your health is kept safe in the secure PKB website at all times. This makes it a lot safer and more secure than using your regular email account. When receiving a message through the PKB system, you will receive a notification into your normal email to look in your PKB account. This is a similar model to that which banks use when communicating financial information with their customers.

  4. How can I learn more about the service?Please visit the Patients Know Best website for further information and case studies. For help and information about Patients Know Best, including how to send messages to your clinician, email

  5. Are other hospitals using Patients Know Best? It is used internationally, and one of the benefits for patients is if you need to seek medical attention when abroad you will be able to access your medical record anywhere in the world through a computer, tablet or smartphone connected to the internet. This will help you share your medical information when abroad or on holiday.

  6. How can I verify my account?Your clinical team will need to verify your account so that they can confirm that you are the patient before medical information is sent to you. Please note: If you have an account opened for you directly by your doctor, they know you already, so your account will already be verified.

    As the Physiotherapy team are trialling the new system, they are currently unable to verify patients’ accounts – however we are looking to set this up in the coming months. When this happens, you will be asked to bring proof of identification to your appointment to fully activate your account. If an account is verified and contains the patient’s NHS number, information from the hospital can start to automatically flow into the account. Patients will also be able to invite other professionals and carers to view your record should you wish.

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Help and information

For help and information about Patients Know Best, including how to register and send messages to your clinician, email


How much does a physio appointment cost the NHS? ›

Physiotherapy is available free of charge on the NHS throughout the UK.

How many physio sessions do you get on the NHS? ›

Appointment restriction –The local CCG state that we should average between 3-5 sessions for each NHS referral, therefore whilst you can certainly expect to improve, you may not fully reach your goals with this limited number of available sessions.

Is physiotherapy under the NHS? ›

Physiotherapy is available through the NHS or privately. You may need a referral from your GP to have physiotherapy on the NHS, although in some areas it's possible to refer yourself directly.

Can a physio refer you to hospital? ›

Physiotherapists do a physical examination to screen you for serious problems, but if we are in doubt, we can refer for x-rays and MRI scans at your local hospital. If a physio is not getting improvement within 4 treatments, they will usually refer you for a second opinion, or a scan.

Is private physio better than NHS? ›

With Private Physiotherapy patients can refer themselves directly to their Physiotherapist avoiding this initial delay. We also receive proportionately less referrals than NHS Physiotherapy services, which means our patients have shorter waiting times and get to be seen sooner.

How much do physiotherapists charge per hour UK? ›

Follow up physiotherapy consultations can be 30, 45 or 60 minutes in length (£49-£78) depending on how many areas we need to treat, how complicated your problem is and how much treatment you want in each session.

What are the 4 types of physiotherapy? ›

Physiotherapy (PT) is a healthcare profession, which encompasses various treatment modalities such as massages, heat therapy, exercises, electrotherapy, patient education, and advice for treating an injury, ailment, or deformity.

How much does a physio cost UK? ›

How much does physio cost? The average course of physiotherapy treatment (an initial assessment and 4 to 5 further treatment sessions) is £240 to £300. Average appointment costs are £50 to £60.

What happens at a first physio appointment? ›

Your initial appointment will include a thorough examination. Your physiotherapist will work out a treatment plan with you and there will be time for you to ask any questions. Your Physiotherapist will let you know if you need further appointments.

How many physio sessions do I need? ›

Minor injuries you might expect 2-3 sessions of physiotherapy; soft tissue injuries you would be looking more towards 6 – 8 weeks, as this is roughly how long it takes for soft tissue to heal in most cases; and more chronic or serious conditions taking 2 or more months of treatment depending on the level of progress ...

Can a private physio refer me for an MRI? ›

Yes. Requesting investigations such as plain X-Rays, ultrasound or MRI scans as part of physiotherapy practice is within the scope of the physiotherapy profession.

What is the difference between physiotherapy and physical therapy? ›

What are the differences, and what is it that differentiates physiotherapy from physical therapy? The answer, you may be shocked to learn, is that physical therapy and physiotherapy are exactly the same! There is, in fact, no difference between the two terms and each term can be used interchangeably. They are synonyms.

Can a physio diagnose arthritis? ›

Specialist physiotherapists are trained in diagnosing and treating joint and muscle problems, and your GP may refer you to a specialist physiotherapist rather than to a rheumatologist or orthopaedic surgeon.

How long does physical therapy take for lower back pain? ›

But on average, patients can expect to be in physical therapy for six to eight weeks as strength and mobility progress with every session. If your back pain continues to be severe or even worse, physical therapy may take longer or may be recommended after surgical intervention.

Can a physio diagnose nerve damage? ›

Your physio will be able to identify where your nerve problem is coming from by assessing your symptoms. Treatment will begin with a thorough assessment and examination, including your history, to determine the cause and severity of your condition.

How do I find a good physiotherapist UK? ›

When choosing a physiotherapist, make sure they are Chartered (they will have MCSP after their name) and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can check their registration with the HCPC online. All NHS physios are registered with the HCPC.

Are physios worth the money? ›

Conclusion Physiotherapists can help people better understand their individualized pain/function problem, while teaching them life-long self-management skills for improved quality of life. Although a physiotherapy plan of care will probably cost you a few hundred dollars, it is undoubtedly worth every penny.

How much do private physios get paid? ›

In terms of average earnings in the private sector, industry data suggests that Physiotherapists earn somewhere between £35,000 and £40,000 a year. However, the same data shows that some starting salaries can be as low as £20,000, and top-end pay packets can be as high as £100,000 a year or beyond.

How long should a physiotherapy session last? ›

Usually sessions last between 30 minutes and an hour but this depends on the nature of the condition. The first appointment will usually be longer in order to account for time taken to take a patient's medical history.

Do physio exercises work? ›

For most individuals, physiotherapy seems to be quite effective when they are treated by skilled and experienced physical therapy professionals. One can easily get relief from nagging pain or recurring aches through the course of course physiotherapy sessions.

How much does physical therapy cost? ›

The national average per session cost of physical therapy can range from $30 - $400. However, with a qualified insurance plan, once your deductible is met, your total out-of-pocket cost typically ranges from $20-$60. If you do not have insurance, you may be paying between $50-$155 out-of-pocket.

Which type of physiotherapy is best? ›

Orthopaedic physiotherapy is the most common form of physical therapy. It deals with the broadest range of issues. Sports physiotherapists use orthopaedic therapy to treat sports injuries. Still, we recommend this type of treatment for anybody recovering from surgeries involving their muscles or bones.

What kind of conditions does a physiotherapist treat? ›

What problems do physiotherapists treat?
  • Neck and back pain caused by problems in the muscles and skeleton.
  • Problems in the bones, joints, muscles and ligaments, such as arthritis and the after-effects of amputation.
  • Lung problems such as asthma.
  • Disability as a result of heart problems.

Is physiotherapist a doctor in UK? ›

Final Answer. Yes, physiotherapists who complete advanced studies can be called a doctor.

What happens in a physiotherapy session? ›

Depending on the nature of the patient's condition, the session may include massage therapy, stretching and exercising and the use of technology such as lasers and ultrasound. Hydrotherapy and electrotherapy sessions may also be included in the treatment pathway.

Do physiotherapists do home visits? ›

Physiotherapy Home Visits

Physiotherapy is often seen as something that can only be accessed if people can make it to the clinic. However, most physiotherapy services can easily carried out in a person's home.

Do I have to take my clothes off for physio? ›

You'll be asked to undress down to your underwear, so suitable underwear is recommended. You may choose to wear shorts, as long as they are not too restrictive.

What do you wear to a physio NHS? ›

The Physiotherapist will often need to look at the area concerned and with your consent; you may be asked to remove some clothing. It is often better to wear loose, comfortable clothing that can be easily taken on and off.

What questions will a physio ask? ›

The physiotherapist will ask you a range of questions about your problem, as well as complete a thorough physical assessment, which could include looking at your movement and strength. It would be helpful if you could think about the following before you attend your appointment: How and when did your condition start?

How does physiotherapy reduce inflammation? ›

Possible physical therapy programs include: Manual Therapy- Hands-on manual therapies such as soft tissue and joint mobilization help to combat inflammation by gaining movement while reducing pain and encouraging blood flow.

Do physiotherapists do massage? ›

Manual therapy is a technique where a physiotherapist uses their hands to manipulate, mobilise and massage the body tissues. This can help: relieve pain and stiffness.

How does physiotherapy treat back pain? ›

Physiotherapy is a treatment that helps to improve the movement and function of joints and muscles. It can help to reduce back pain and get you get moving normally again. It can also help to reduce the risk of hurting your back again. Physiotherapists use many treatments and techniques to help with back pain.

How much does an MRI scan cost UK? ›

The national average for a standard MRI scan cost is £363, according to Private Healthcare UK. We offer standard MRI scans from as little as £250, depending on the date and time you book.

Why do doctors refuse MRI? ›

Of the 39 physicians, 36 (92%) did not order the MRI at the initial visit. All 36 told the patient that their refusal was based on lack of a medical indication for the test. Seven of these 36 physicians (19%) also cited the expense of the test and the need to cut health care costs.

Can I get an MRI scan without a referral? ›

Why Self Refer? There is no need for you to be referred to us by a GP or medical consultant. You can easily refer yourself for an MRI scan by completing our online form. Simply tell us about the reason you want the scan, the part of the body that you want scanned and answer some safety questions.

How do physiotherapist talk? ›

How To Say Physiotherapy - YouTube

Is Chiropractic better than physical therapy? ›

Chiropractors May Cause Additional Injury

Out of the two, physical therapy will always be the best choice, since a physical therapist will solve the overall problem, helping you to heal and get you back on your feet and active.

Why is physiotherapy done? ›

Physiotherapy (PT) helps to treat injuries, ailments or deformities by employing various methods such as massage, heat therapy, exercises, electrotherapy, patient education, and advice. PT, also known as physical therapy or kinesiology, helps to treat orthopedic, neurological, and cardiopulmonary disease conditions.

What is the best exercise for arthritis? ›

Low-impact aerobic activities do not put stress on the joints and include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, water aerobics, light gardening, group exercise classes, and dancing.

What does Physio do for arthritis? ›

Find a Physio

Exercise can help to manage some of the symptoms of arthritis. Physios provide advice and education on exercise, pain relief and ways to manage your condition. They can teach you how to improve your joint movement and your walking, as well as how to strengthen your muscles.

Can arthritis be cured with physiotherapy? ›

In short, no, physiotherapy cannot cure arthritis as there is no cure for arthritis. However, physiotherapy can help to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and prevent it from getting worse.

Is walking good for lower back pain? ›

The simple movement of walking is one of the best things we can do for chronic lower back pain. Ten to fifteen minutes of walking twice a day will help ease lower back pain. Substitute this activity for a more vigorous type of exercise if you prefer and/or are able.

Does physical therapy actually help lower back pain? ›

When you're suffering from back or neck pain, it may be tempting to stay on the couch all day. But that's a prescription for more pain. Although getting up and moving might be the last thing you feel like doing, physical therapy and exercise can be the best way to reduce pain.

Does low back pain ever go away? ›

Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.

Can a physio fix a pinched nerve? ›

Most pinched nerve resolve within 4 – 6 weeks with appropriate physiotherapy. This includes gentle lower back mobilization to loosen up the lower back joints, some gentle massage and a home program of stretches.

Can a physiotherapist fix a trapped nerve? ›

The physiotherapy treatment of a Trapped nerve is fairly straightforward. The most important thing is to identify the cause of the problem. This can usually be done with clinical tests without the need for any scans.

How much does physical therapy cost? ›

The national average per session cost of physical therapy can range from $30 - $400. However, with a qualified insurance plan, once your deductible is met, your total out-of-pocket cost typically ranges from $20-$60. If you do not have insurance, you may be paying between $50-$155 out-of-pocket.

How many physio sessions do I need? ›

Minor injuries you might expect 2-3 sessions of physiotherapy; soft tissue injuries you would be looking more towards 6 – 8 weeks, as this is roughly how long it takes for soft tissue to heal in most cases; and more chronic or serious conditions taking 2 or more months of treatment depending on the level of progress ...

How much do physiotherapists earn? ›

An early career Physiotherapist with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of ₦1,535,056 based on 12 salaries. A mid-career Physiotherapist with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of ₦2,471,741 based on 6 salaries.

How do I find a good physiotherapist UK? ›

When choosing a physiotherapist, make sure they are Chartered (they will have MCSP after their name) and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). You can check their registration with the HCPC online. All NHS physios are registered with the HCPC.


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